I'm not a hopeless romantic, but I am touched by sentiment, so I got a kick out of seeing the love locks in Paris.
A number of public bridges in Paris have thousands of padlocks bolted to them, left behind by couples and friends as a symbol of their eternal love for each other. The idea is you both write your initials and the date on the lock, then you clamp it on to the bridge and throw the key into the river below - lock in the love, Eddy.
As well as the normal-sized locks, there were obviously some couples wanting to make strong statements about their love with padlocks the size of my hand. Then taking that a step further, we also saw some bike-locks - for the uber-serious relationships. The combination locks were slightly less romantic.
The most impressive bridge was at Pont de l'Archevêché, near Notre Dame, where there were just layers and layers of locks. As you do, I went looking for the oldest one, but came up disappointed when I could only go back as far as 2009. I smell a rat.
Has anyone put a lock on one of these bridges? And do you know if it is still there?
Another upside to the padlock-coated bridges is it gives tour guides another one-liner. "Why are there so many locks?" "So that the bridge doesn't get stolen!" Bahahahaha. Not so much.
Actually, one guide with Big Fat Bike Tours did have a good story about the locks.
He told us about these two 68-year-olds who brought a lock on one of the bike tours. They sat down on the bridge to kiss the lock and bolt it on together, but then found that their flexibility was a little lacking and both got stuck sitting on the ground. Hey, I just hope that at 68 I'm still game to sign up for a bike tour at all.
Nathan and I did not add a lock. As with all things tourism-related and money-making in Paris, there was of course a guy there selling locks so we could have bought one. However, we had limited cash, and I had already eyed up the crepes around the corner.
Despite that, I just want to say that I am all for contributing to "traveller collections". In San Francisco we added New Zealand coins to a collection of foreign money, and every map in tourist information centres we have visited now has a new New Zealand pin.
However, I'm surprised that I haven't come across more of those unusual tourist spots. In New Zealand, we had that underwear fence near Queenstown, there's a bubble gum wall in Seattle, and apparently there are a number of shoe fences around the world, but I haven't found anything else.
What other collections have people found, and who has contributed?
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